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How Quickly Does Propranolol Work For Anxiety

Who Is At Risk

My Experience With Propranolol For Anxiety

The risk of anxiety disorders depends upon a blend of genetic and environmental factors. A person who has or had the following conditions is at a higher risk of developing an anxiety disorder than others:

  • Personality traits such as shyness or behavioral inhibition
  • Anxiety disorders or other mental health concerns run in families.
  • The traumatic or stressful situations in childhood

Women are more at risk of being affected by anxiety disorders. Researchers also speculate that hormonal changes peculiar to women may be the reason for this fact. The hormone, testosterone which men have more, may also have a role to play. Due to the inherently patriarchal nature of the society, women also do not have access to treatment of anxiety which worsens the situation.

How Does Propranolol Work

Propranolol works by slowing your heart rate and affecting your blood vessels, making it easier for your heart to pump blood around your body.

If you are feeling particularly anxious, worried or stressed about an upcoming event , then you may experience anxiety symptoms such as a racing heart, sweating and flushing. By slowing down your heart rate, Propranolol can tackle the physical symptoms of anxiety and help you to feel calmer.

Propranolol also inhibits the effects of the stress hormone noradrenaline, which further combats these physical anxiety symptoms.

Propranolol doesnt treat the mental symptoms of anxiety such as worry, a sense of dread or a foggy mind, but lots of people find that easing their physical symptoms with medication can also help to alleviate mental symptoms, making them less aware of how nervous they are.

Propranolol is a type of beta-blocker. Beta-blockers are medical treatments that were initially developed to treat heart problems but are now also used to help with anxiety and migraines.

What Is The Propranolol Dose For Anxiety

The dose you are prescribed by your doctor will be dependent on the severity of your anxiety and whether you have previously been prescribed it. Propranolol comes in oral tablet form and in a variety of strengths ranging from 10mg to 40mg.

Propranolol 40mg once daily is the typical starting dose when treating anxiety, although your doctor may prescribe a lower dose to start. Alternatively, your doctor may also choose to increase your dose once they have monitored how your body reacts to the initial starting dose.

Always take propranolol directly as prescribed by your doctor.

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How Does Propranolol Make You Feel

Propranolol works by blocking the physical effects of anxiety on your heart. This means that you wont experience the usual physical symptoms of anxiety, such as sweating, shaking or a faster heart rate when you feel nervous.

Unlike other medications for anxiety, propranolol doesnt promote mental relaxation or calm your mind. However, by reducing the physical symptoms of anxiety, propranolol might help you to feel calmer, less nervous and more composed.

Getting The Most From Your Treatment

How Quickly Does Propranolol Work For Anxiety?
  • Try to keep your regular appointments with your doctor. This is so your doctor can check on your progress.
  • Treatment with propranolol can often be long-term. Continue to take the tablets/capsules unless your doctor tells you to stop. Stopping treatment suddenly can cause problems in some people, so your doctor may want you to reduce your dose gradually if this becomes necessary.
  • If you are due to have an operation or dental treatment, it is important to tell the person carrying out the treatment that you are taking a beta-blocker. This is because some anaesthetics may increase the risk of unwanted effects.
  • If you drink alcohol, ask your doctor for advice about taking propranolol and alcohol. Alcohol will add to the blood pressure-lowering effect of propranolol and so may not be recommended for you.
  • If you have diabetes, propranolol can block the symptoms of low blood sugar. Your doctor will advise you about this.
  • If you buy any medicines, check with a pharmacist that they are suitable for you to take. Some medicines may not be.
  • Your doctor may give you dietary and lifestyle advice about eating a healthy diet, not smoking, and taking regular exercise. If so, it is important that you follow the advice you are given.

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How Does Propranolol Treat Anxiety

Propranolol, a beta-blocker type, stops neurotransmitters known as beta-adrenergic agents from attaching to their receptors. The term adrenergic refers to the versions of the hormone adrenaline in your body that it makes naturally.

Adrenaline is responsible for your fight-or-flight responses. You would probably remember feeling an adrenaline rush when watching a scary movie. Your heart beats faster, blood flow increases to the brain and muscles, and the sugar is broken down into fuel.

The adrenaline rush is helpful when a real threat is imminent, but it becomes difficult to function daily if you live on an adrenaline rush all the time.

Propranolol for anxiety can help block the beta-adrenergic agents, which block the physical symptoms of stress from manifesting. If a neurotransmitter isnt attached to the receptor, it cannot signal the body to produce adrenaline. Propranolol gets attached to adrenaline receptors instead.

Propranolol causes the antihypertensive effect. The antihypertensive effects of propranolol reduce high blood pressure by helping the blood vessels relax and expand, aiding in more manageable blood flow throughout the body.

Can I Take Propranolol If I Am Pregnant Or Breastfeeding


When deciding whether to take propranolol during pregnancy, it is important to weigh up how necessary propranolol is to your health against the possible risks to you or your baby, some of which will depend on how many weeks pregnant you are.Most studies with propranolol have looked at mums who take propranolol as part of treatment for their high blood pressure. High blood pressure itself is not good for a developing baby and so when things havent gone well it may be due to the high blood pressure itself.There may be a link with propranolol taken early in pregnancy and spine problems or malformations of the mouth, but again it is not clear if this is really the case.

Remaining well is particularly important during pregnancy and while caring for a baby. For some women, treatment with propranolol in pregnancy may be the best option for both mother and baby.


Taking propranolol near to delivery may mean that your baby is born with a slower heart rate, lower blood pressure, some breathing difficulties and a low blood sugar. All these will be checked at birth and can readily be dealt with.Breastfeeding

Propranolol can be passed to the baby in the breastmilk, but the levels are very low and so the risk of side effects in the baby is also low.

It is generally thought that it is alright to breastfeed while taking propranolol, but as everyone is different it is important to seek advice from your doctor or midwife first.

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Propranolol Usage For Test Anxiety

Another documented use case for beta blockers and propranolol in particular is the usage before exams to reduce test anxiety and potentially improve exam scores and performance. In 1980s there were studies and articles about how propranolol could improve SAT performance among students who struggled with temporary memory recall issues due to performance anxiety during exams. There was a study that showed a marked improvement with a small sample size of students.

There have been multiple additional studies on the topic and the consensus between them is that those with anxiety disorders that result in them struggling with memory during testing situations due to stress see the most benefit and improvement in results when taking beta blockers. Students who dont suffer from extreme anxiety are unlikely to see improvement in their results when taking beta blockers before testing. Students taking beta blockers to improve testing performance continues today with a recent study in 2018 among medical and dental students in Saudi Arabia showing more than 30% reported to using propranolol for testing purposes, many of these were self prescribed and students understood the risks of the drugs and how they worked to reduce symptoms of nervousness.

Is It Okay To Take Propranolol With Food

Is Propranolol Effective For Managing Anxiety Symptoms?

Propranolol can typically be taken with or without food. Taking propranolol with protein-rich food may increase its bioavailability, although this does not seem to make the medication work faster or increase its duration of action.

If youre prescribed an extended-release form of propranolol, such as Innopran XL® or Inderal XL®, it should be consistently taken either with food or without food every time.

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What Is The Best Beta Blocker For Public Speaking

The most commonly used beta blocker for these kinds of situations ispropranolol, a drug marketed in the United States under the brand name Inderal. When Worthington prescribes it, he says he always makes sure patients have practice using it prior to their big performance.Is Accessible For Free:False

How Does Propranolol Help With Anxiety

Propranolol is most effective at treating short term anxiety, for example if you have a specific upcoming event that is making you feel anxious.

Propranolol will not cure the underlying psychological triggers of your anxiety however, it will help your body cope with some of the physical symptoms of anxiety, in particular an increased heart rate and high blood pressure.

Propranolol is a beta blocker it is used to treat several heart conditions and is very effective at treating anxiety. Propranolol slows down your heart rate and ensures that it beats at a more regular rate. This also eases the pressure on the heart and makes it easier to pump blood around your body. If you are new to propranolol, our guide to beta blockers provides information on what conditions they are used to treat and how they work.

Propranolol is effective at treating anxiety as it helps to prevent one of the first and main symptoms of anxiety, increased heart rate. Propranolol blocks the bodys natural adrenaline/stress messages being sent to the heart. Both adrenaline and stress increase the bodys heart rate and cause the heart to pump harder and faster and also increases blood pressure.

During an anxiety attack, those same messages will be sent to your heart by the body in turn increasing your heart rate and blood pressure. With those adrenaline/stress messages being blocked, propranolol can help with high blood pressure, although it is not a recommended first line treatment.

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Propranolol Interactions Risk Factors And Possible Side Effects

Propranolol is a prescription medication with the potential for serious side effects, and its usage should not be taken lightly. Before taking propranolol its important to talk to your doctor if you have a history of:

  • Asthma, bronchospasm, or other problems related to breathing
  • Cardiogenic shock
  • Raynauds syndrome or other peripheral artery diseases
  • Diabetes
  • Abnormal blood pressure levels

You should also notify your doctor of any medications youre currently on to avoid any negative interactions.

Make sure to consult a certified medical professional to ensure propranolol is a safe treatment option for you and make sure you are receiving your medication from a certified US pharmacy to insure accurate dosing and quality standards are met.

Its also important to point out that, although that there are potential side effects you could encounter if you decide to use propranolol including:

  • Slowed heart rate

How Much Does Propranolol Lower Blood Pressure


Propranolol can cause a significant decrease in blood pressure, especially when used at a high dosage.

In a study published in the Journal of Clinical Hypertension, researchers tested propranolol on a group of more than 400 patients with mild to moderate hypertension. They found that the use of propranolol was associated with a 10.1 to 11 mmHg reduction in diastolic blood pressure.

The researchers also found that the decrease in blood pressure was significant in all propranolol doses after eight weeks of treatment.

Symptoms of low blood pressure include dizziness, lightheadedness, nausea, dehydration and unusual thirst, fatigue, difficulty concentrating, blurred vision, rapid breathing, chilled, pale skin, depression and an increase in sweating.

Its important to inform your healthcare provider if you start to feel any symptoms of low blood pressure after using propranolol.

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Beta Blocker Usage In Golf For Performance Anxiety

Propranolol and beta blocker usage in golf was brought to public attention in 1994 when ex pro golfer Mac OGrady claimed in an interview that at least 7 of the best golfers in the world have been using them and called for more strict drug testing. Australian pro golfer Craig Perry echoed these concerns in 2000 when he also claimed in an interview that many top pros where using beta blockers in order to improve performance.

Famous golfer Greg Norman made a similar statement that In my day, a lot of guys were on beta blockers and in 2008 the PGA, following the lead of WADA and the olympics, added beta blockers to the banned substance list. While there have be few public cases of pros testing positive for its use in recent years, beta blockers, like propranolol, continue to be popular among recreational golfers looking to steady their hands and improve their game.

How Do You Use Propranolol

You can only get propranolol with a prescription from a healthcare professional.

Also known by generic names like Hemangeol and Inderal, propranolol is available in three forms: a tablet, a liquid solution, and an extended-release pill.

The tablet and solution start working immediately and can be taken every 3 to 4 hours, depending on your health teams recommendation.

The extended-release pill acts over time, so it should only be taken once per day. Since it works better for short-term anxiety, an immediate release option like a tablet or liquid solution may be a doctors preferred choice.

Propranolol is best taken as a short-term treatment for occasional anxiety.

When propranolol is used to treat other conditions, like angina or migraines, the starting dose is 80 milligrams taken once per day. Your doctor will decide what a safe dose is for you depending on your symptoms and your health profile.

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Propranolol Dosage For Anxiety

The usual dose for heart or high blood pressure related treatments is 80mg 240mg per day for adults.

The typical dosage doctors recommend when prescribing propranolol for anxiety is much lower, typically 10mg-40mg taken on an as needed basis about an hour before high pressure situations or events. Its typically recommended to start with a small dose of 10mg or 20mg to see how you feel and do a trial run with the medication rather than trying it for the first time on the day of an important event.

I Have Allergies And Food Intolerances Is There Anything I Need To Know

Is it normal to get a prescription for propranolol?

If you have food allergies and carry an adrenaline injection , let your doctor know as propranolol could reduce the effectiveness of this.

Propranolol tablets may not be suitable for you if you have problems eating some sugars or dairy foods, as they contain lactose.

Some propranolol tablets may contain colours that can cause an allergic reaction.

The capsules contain gelatin and sucrose.

Talk to your pharmacist or doctor if you are allergic to any food additives.

Propranolol long-acting capsules contain gelatin, and this may be a problem if you don’t eat meat.

The liquid may contain methyl and propyl parahydroxybenzoates and the food additive colour sunset yellow which may cause an allergic reaction in some people.

The liquid may also contain maltitol . If your doctor has told you that you cannot eat some sugars, check with your doctor before taking it.

Let your pharmacist know if you have any food allergies or intolerances, and always check with them if youre concerned about any of the ingredients in your medication.

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